It was on a rainy night when six women who met for the first time, from different parts of the country set off from Mumbai to enjoy the blissful beauty of the Konkan coastline of Maharashtra in the rains.
The Konkan coastline extends from Maharashtra to Karnataka and its beauty is best experienced in the monsoons when the entire region is covered in brilliant shades of green. To read up more about Konkan check out this link on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konkan
Our souls were starved for beauty and inspiration and our tired, overworked minds craving for rejuvenation. The sudden transition from gray Mumbai to fluroscent green Konkan took us completely by surprise!
Our first stop early in the morning was a little tea stall, in front of the mighty Sahyadri hills, which at that time were completely cloud covered. This picture is taken at Vashisht Darshan Point at Parshuram Ghat. Parshuram is the sixth avatar of Lord Vishnu. He fought back the advancing seas thus saving the lands of Konkan and Malabar. Read up more about Parshuram and his heroic feats at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parashurama
A spotted dove looked at us ‘townies’ curiously as we sipped our piping hot ‘chai’
Hungry after a long drive, we stopped en route for some yummy local food. This is ‘Kanda Poha’, a popular local Maharashtrian breakfast, that is wholesome and nutritious.
In the monsoons, virtually every nook and cranny in the Konkan villages turns into a waterfall. Its a delightful sight to witness the sheer force of the white burst of water….This is a picture of the Nivali Waterfall.
We stayed the first couple of nights at a lovely, little village called Nate in the Ratnagiri district that was totally off the beaten track in a farmhouse called Ganesh Agro Tourism. The farmhouse is basic, very clean, eco friendly and set in 30 acres of endless farmland. Perfect setting for a total de stress and some amazing home cooked food. The farmhouse is run by Ganesh and his pretty, fair eyed Konkani wife who stay with their chirpy, little daughter ‘Bilwa’. The ‘personal touch’ really makes the stay worth it.
This is us chilling out in the sit out outside our rooms that looks out on to miles of green.
This was the ‘Lounge’ cum dining area. When we were not eating the delicious Konkani food Ganesh’s wife cooked, we were ‘busy’ hammocking.
Ratnagiri is well known for its Alphonso mangoes, known as ‘Hapus’ in Marathi. This is a young mango sapling just sprouting in the rains in Ganesh’s farm.
We had some of the most amazing virgin beaches absolutely to ourselves. The sea has its own rugged charms in the rains and the crashing waves give a feeling of raw, careless abandon that is powerful and enticing.
This is a view of the rugged coast at Ambolgad, where the waves rise high up into the air and have a sensuous charm.
‘High’ at the sea shore in Nate, where Navneet jumped in sheer exuberance.
This is a typical village road in remote villages of Konkan in the monsoons. This is a scene near the Nate beach. Note the upturned fishing boat on the left:
We saw an amazing variety of birds during our journey. This Hornbill scouple posing for the lenses were a sheer delight.
Ganesh took us to his house for some tea and for a visit around his lovely farm where he grows paddy and a variety of spices. The lovely Lotus pond to the entrance of his house had me totally floored.
After Ganesh’s daughter Bilwa entertained us with her moves from ‘Sheila ki Jawani’, we proceeded for a view of his lovely ploughed fields:
Next day we set off to explore the renowned Vijaydurg fort. It was a beautiful drive and this guitar shaped island on the way had an idyllic charm.
Finally, after a lovely drive along the coastline, we reached the entrance of the mighty Vijaydurg Fort:
Vijaydurg Fort was constructed in the regime of Raja Bhoj in 1205 A.D. Chatrapati Shivaji won this fort from Adil Shah of Bijapur and named it Vijaydurg. ‘Vijay’ in Hindi means victory. The importance of this fort was mentioned in a lot of early foreign literature. Read up more on Vijaydurg at this link: http://www.vijaydurg.com/. This is a view of the ramparts of Vijaydurg fort.
The old walls are still more or less intact despite years of being exposed to natural elements.
Voracious after our day’s adventures we hogged on the delicious Konkani fish in a local restaurant, cooked in the Malwani style. Malwan is a place in Konkan famous for its fish preparation.
It was beach time again. This time we headed to the stunningly beautiful Deogarh beach and as usual we had the beach all to ourselves and what a sight it was….
Posing in front of the windmills at Deogarh beach in our raincoats:
We headed next to Shadav waterfall that was gushing in full glory, fed by the generous rainwater. This is the first view of the waterfall seen through green foliage.
Local day trippers come for a bath in the waterfalls on weekends:
One experience definitely not to be missed is to try your hands and legs at a bit of ploughing and getting into the paddy fields. Its free mud spa and a lot of fun. The poor bullock almost got a shock seeing us enter the paddy field and preferred to keep a snooty distance from us. Do check out their expression!
We went next to ancient underground temple with a fast flowing stream that one has to wade across to get to the shrine.
Our last delicious dinner in Ganesh’s farmhouse on a plate made with coconut leaf. The meals here are totally vegetarian and are a gastronomer’s delight.
Next day, we bid farewell to our lovely hosts and proceeded for the next leg of our trip.
We stopped at a lovely, old Sun temple. This is a panoramic view of the temple.
Sitting by a well in the Sun Temple. Check out the traditional pulley system of drawing water.
The picturesque beach of Ganapatiphule is that we passed by.
Ganapatiphule is a famous beach destination in Maharashtra, also renowned as an important religious destination. One can stay at the MTDC resort here. We visited the Prachin Konkan museum, that depicts scenes from ancient Konkan and the traditional life.
Some traditional professions like basket making being depicted at the museum.
After a long, but satisfying day we reached Guhagarh where we halted at Nisarga Resort for the night. This is a lovely local resort, located close to the Guhagarh beach, having all modern amenities in the very heart of nature.
A snapshot of Nisarga:
Venna building sand castles at the Guhagarh beach.
The name says it all 🙂
Splashing in the waves at Guhagarh:
Think this was a starfish.
This was the last day of our trip and we set off for our drive back to Mumbai after a hearty breakfast of ‘Thalipeeth’
Our first stop was Tolkeshwar Lighthouse. We had obtained permission to climb up inside the lighthouse upto the lookout point. We learnt how it was mandatory to have a lighthouse every few Kms and how each lighthouse had a different colour code so that sailors could identify which port were they close to.
View from Tolkeshwar Lighthouse:
To cut down on our travel time, we took a ferry across a creek from Guhagarh towards Dapoli.
A bit about things to buy in Konkan. Women love to shop so its always good to know about indigenous things here. There is the Malvani masalas that are must buys, wooden toys and spoons made in Sawantwadi that are sold all over Konkan, ‘aam ras’ or concentrated mango pulp, kokam sharbat and karvand sharbat or cranberry juice.
En route our guide Mr. Kanchan took us to a planetarium that was under construction. The planetarium had great acoustics and it was fun listening to our echoes. Thats us in front of the planetarium:
We stopped at Dhapoli for lunch and then headed towards Mumbai with our minds refreshed and rejuvenated till our next getaway…………!